The goldfish - some facts

The goldfish is a colorful and ornamental fish be­longing to the Carp family, Cyprinidae. The many beautiful varieties of goldfish, frequently seen in aquariums throughout the world, are all descended from a plain, small-finned, drab-colored ancestor. This unimpressive fish was first bred by the Chinese several centuries ago and later by the Japanese, many remarkable varieties having been developed. Goldfish were introduced into the United States about 75 years ago and are now popular pets as well as colorful additions to the aquarium. Among the more familiar varieties are the common goldfish, the fan-tail, the black or moor telescope, and the comet.

Care of Goldfish. Like other aquarium fishes, goldfish require adequate living conditions and a certain amount of care. They may be kept in almost any kind of container but it is always necessary to insure a sufficient surface area of water so that oxygen is readily available. The usual types of aquariums are globes or oblong containers that are slightly deeper than wide. The latter may be filled with water to the entire capacity but globes should be only two-thirds full in order to provide a large enough surface area. Although pond water and distilled water with added salt are especially good for aquariums' use, tap water is usually satisfactory. It should, however, be allowed to stand for 36 hours be-fore the aquarium is filled and have a temperature of about 65°-70° F. The amount of water per fish is im­portant and overcrowding must be avoided if the fish are to survive; usually each one-inch fish re-quires 1 gallon of water, each two-inch fish 3 gallons, each three- or four-inch fish 6 and 12 gallons, respectively.

Goldfish may be fed commercial fish foods and occasionally pieces of raw liver, fish, shrimp, clams, oysters, raw lean beef, or scrambled egg. They should be offered food only once a day, all they can eat in five minutes; after feeding, any excess food should be promptly removed. Unless the aquarium is kept clean the fish become susceptible to diseases and sometimes die. The most important disease that attacks goldfish is "white fungus." The diseased fish become covered with a white slime, their fins become ragged, and the tissues are destroyed. The condition may be remedied by placing the fish in a salt solution (three tablespoons of salt for each gallon of water) for about a week and changing the solution three times during this period. If properly cared for, goldfish will live for five years or more. They will continue to grow as long as they live—the rate of growth depending on the volume of water and amount of food—and will breed in the aquarium.